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Exposure to young triggers new neuron creation in females exhibiting maternal behavior
Date:12/17/2009

imulates increased new neuron production in the nulliparous mothers is not known. One possibility is that the hormone prolactin, which stimulates both the onset of maternal behavior as well as production of neurons during pregnancy, may play a role in the production of new neurons in nulliparous females exhibiting maternal behavior. However, this possibility remains to be investigated. A second possibility is that stimulation received from the young themselves may, in fact, play a crucial role in stimulating maternal neuron production.

"As with all scientific studies, these findings trigger more questions than answers," said Dr. Robert Bridges, section head of reproduction and neurobiology at Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. "Next, we hope to determine what role this neurogenesis plays in terms of the female's behavior and physiological processes. Where do these new cells migrate to within the brain and what do they do? For example, do they affect how a female subsequently perceives her young through recognition of baby odors? These are the questions we hope to answer."


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Contact: Tom Keppeler
508-839-7910
Tufts University, Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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